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The Unholy Alliance Between DNA Sites and Facial Recognition

Technology that was once only seen in dystopian science fiction is rapidly infecting real life. Two means of collecting personal data – DNA databases and facial recognition software – are forming an unholy alliance, and the privacy implications could be devastating. Privacy concerns surrounding DNA and facial recognition aren’t anything new. As the popularity of DNA genealogy websites like Ancestry DNA and 23andMe increase, so do questions over who has access to that data and how it will be used. The use of facial recognition and other biometric data technology is on the rise, and people are expressing concerns (and…

DHS Database To Track ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ And Independent Journalists

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will track influential independent journalists, bloggers and ‘conspiracy theorists’ through a centralized, searchable database. According to a publicly posted job listing, the DHS “Media Monitoring” initiative is seeking a contractor who can provide DHS with the ability to track over 290,000 journalists who influence online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications, and social media platforms. Zerohedge.com reports: “Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers,” according to the job call, in order to help DHS agencies fulfill “a critical need to…

In Court, Facebook Blames Users for Destroying Their Own Right to Privacy

In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat before members of both houses of Congress and told them his company respected the privacy of the roughly two billion people who use it. “Privacy” remained largely undefined throughout Zuckerberg’s televised flagellations, but he mentioned the concept more than two dozen times, including when he told the Senate’s Judiciary and Commerce committees, “We have a broader responsibility to protect people’s privacy even beyond” a consent decree from federal privacy regulators, and when he told the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls.” A…

Scientists Create “Deepfake” Software Allowing Anyone To Edit Anything Anyone Says On Video

Scientists at Stanford are doing their part to create what will be an inevitable dystopian nightmare. The staff at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Princeton University and Adobe Research have developed software that allows you to now edit and change what people are saying in videos, allowing anyone to edit anybody into saying anything, according to Observer.  The software uses machine learning and 3-D models of the target’s face to generate new footage which allows the user to change, edit and remove words that are coming out of a person’s mouth on video, simply by typing in new text.…

Credit Scores Could Soon Get Even Creepier and More Biased…Scores based on AI and non-traditional data such as your social media profile could usher in a whole new way for banks to discriminate

Are you trustworthy? For centuries this was a qualitative question, but no longer. Now you have a number, a score, that everybody from loan officers to landlords will use to determine how much they should trust you. Credit scores are often presented as objective and neutral, but they have a long history of prejudice. Most changes in how credit scores are calculated over the years—including the shift from human assessment to computer calculations, and most recently to artificial intelligence—have come out of a desire to make the scores more equitable, but credit companies have failed to remove bias, on the…

Police To Use Automatic Facial Recognition Sunglasses To Watchlist People

Sometimes I have trouble coming up with a title for one of my stories but this one came easy because the two companies involved in the story helped create it. A New York based company called Vuzix along with a UAE software company called NNTC, worked together to produce the world’s first automatic facial recognition sunglasses for law enforcement. Not only did they create the world’s first automatic facial recognition sunglasses but they purposely made them to resemble Oakley sunglasses. Making it harder for people to tell if they are being spied on. The above video warns that police will have…

Propaganda: More than 4 in 5 Americans support airport biometrics

A large majority of Americans support the use of biometrics to verify their identities at airports, amid growing concern about the safety of public events, according to the new 2019 Unisys Security Index. The report shows 81 percent approve of airport biometrics, 42 percent due to security concerns, and roughly one third each mainly for the reliability and convenience benefits. Among those who do not support airport biometrics, a lack of trust in the government or airport authorities are the most commonly cited reasons why. IATA recently resolved to accelerate the deployment of its One ID biometric initiative to prepare…

Hackers stole a US Customs and Border Patrol facial recognition database

Data from facial recognition scans performed by US Customs and Border Patrol on travelers crossing at an unnamed lander border point (an anonymous source says it’s a US-Canada crossing) have been stolen by hacker or hackers unknown. The CBP doesn’t know how many records were leaked, but estimates the number at less than 100k. The CBP refused to state which contractor breached the data, but the memo it sent to the Washington Post about the breach was titled “CBP Perceptics Public Statement” and since Perceptics is a CBP contractor that does facial recognition (as well as license plate cameras and…

Massive New Government Database Includes Face Recognition, DNA, Tattoos and Relationship Patterns

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is building a massive new database containing biometric and biographic data on people in the US.   Northrop Grumman got a $95 million contract from DHS to develop the first stages of the system. The new database is called the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART). It will include face and voice recognition, DNA, scars and tattoos. The database will also include standard biographic information, like name, birthdate, physical descriptions, country of origin, and government identification information. HART can be used to identify relationship patterns, political activities and religious affiliations, and will serve as…

iOS 13 now shows a map of where apps have been tracking you when requesting permission

Apple continued its strong focus on privacy with the announcement of iOS 13 this week. The update includes several new privacy features, including a more detailed view of how apps have been using your location in the background. As you can see in the screenshots above, iOS 13 presents popup notifications when an app is using your location in the background. The notification also shows a map of the location data a specific app has tracked. The above screenshots show location data tracked by the Tesla app as well as the Apple Store app. In addition to showing the map,…

Amazon’s helping police build a surveillance network with Ring doorbells

If you’re walking in Bloomfield, New Jersey, there’s a good chance you’re being recorded. But it’s not a corporate office or warehouse security camera capturing the footage — it’s likely a Ring doorbell made by Amazon.  While residential neighborhoods aren’t usually lined with security cameras, the smart doorbell’s popularity has essentially created private surveillance networks powered by Amazon and promoted by police departments. Police departments across the country, from major cities like Houston to towns with fewer than 30,000 people, have offered free or discounted Ring doorbells to citizens, sometimes using taxpayer funds to pay for Amazon’s products. While Ring…

Amazon’s facial recognition fear crusade ramps up: now they’re paying Facebook to show you pictures of suspected criminals to scare you into getting a surveillance doorbell

Amazon’s Ring doorbells are surveillance devices that conduct round-the-clock video surveillance of your neighborhood, automatically flagging “suspicious” faces and bombarding you and your neighbors with alerts using an app called “Neighbors”; it’s a marriage of Amazon’s Internet of Things platform with its “Rekognition” facial recognition tool, which it has marketed aggressively to cities, law enforcement, ICE, businesses and everyday customers as a security measure that can help ID bad guys, despite the absence of a database identifying which faces belong to good people and which faces belong to bad people. Part of the home surveillance project is a fear-based marketing…

Ring & Law Enforcement Use Walk Lights And Flood Lights To Spread Fear

I thought that after writing two articles about the dangers of purchasing Ring doorbells, there could not possibly be anything else to warn people about, but boy was I mistaken. Big Brother has found a new way to spread fear and paranoia to neighborhoods. Besides using the obvious, like equipping homes with facial recognition doorbells and creating neighborhood watchlists, Ring is taking it up a notch. Not much was made of Ring’s acquisition of Mr.Beams lights last year, a fact that I also overlooked. The above video, explains how Ring plans to spread fear by creating a network of spying walk…

Google confirms that advanced backdoor came preinstalled on Android devices

Criminals in 2017 managed to get an advanced backdoor preinstalled on Android devices before they left the factories of manufacturers, Google researchers confirmed on Thursday. Triada first came to light in 2016 in articles published by Kaspersky here and here, the first of which said the malware was “one of the most advanced mobile Trojans” the security firm’s analysts had ever encountered. Once installed, Triada’s chief purpose was to install apps that could be used to send spam and display ads. It employed an impressive kit of tools, including rooting exploits that bypassed security protections built into Android and the…

A New Surveillance Tool Is Coming to U.S. Skies

An Arizona company developing a new type of high-altitude, long-range surveillance platform just completed a 16-day mission during which massive balloons floated over four western U.S. states, all part of an effort to someday keep them aloft for months at a time. World View Enterprises Inc. builds what it calls Stratollites, a system designed to offer the type of coverage satellites afford but without the need to launch incredibly expensive rockets into space. Effectively unmanned balloons, the untethered platforms operate with surveillance equipment payloads of as much as 220 pounds (100 kg) at altitudes of 50,000 feet to 75,000 feet, far above commercial air…

Mind-controlled drones? Pentagon hopes to test telepathy tech on humans within 4 years

The Pentagon agency tasked with developing new technology for the US military says it’s just a few short years away from beginning human tests of a headset that gives its wearer telepathic powers. Professor Jacob Robinson of Rice University, the research team coordinator at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), told the Express that the brain-computer interface (BCI) would be capable of telepathically commanding “active cyber defense systems” as well as “swarms of unmanned vehicles.” The researcher noted that the technology would remove the “communication latency” between the mind and the body. “There is a delay between my thought…

Patronscan wants cities to require bars to scan your ID with its service so it can maintain a secret, unaccountable blacklist

Patronscan is the leading provider of ID-scanning/verification services to bars and restaurants, and one of its selling points is that it allows its customers to create shared blacklists of undesirable customers who can then be denied services at every other establishment that uses its services. Susie Cagle (previously) delves into Patronscan’s practices and the risks the company presents to privacy and fairness. For example, Patronscan’s database contains the names, addresses and other details of people who patronize LGBTQ bars, or fundraisers for political causes. What’s more, Patronscan allows law enforcement to access its records without warrants. More disturbing is the…

Bars & Nightclubs Use A Secret Biometric Blacklist To Ban Customers

Have you ever had too much to drink at a bar or nightclub and been asked to leave? Have you or your friends ever mouthed off to the staff or been hit on by a bartender? Have you ever Yelped or Tweeted about bad food or service? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you will be mortified to learn that Big Brother knows exactly who you are. According to an article in OneZero, the service industry has been quietly using PatronScan to scan the IDs and faces of 500,000+ bargoers. “PatronScan collected and retained information on…

Watchdog says FBI has access to about 640M photographs (most likely scraped from you social media accounts)

A government watchdog says the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs — including from driver’s licenses, passports and mugshots — that can be searched using facial recognition technology. The figure reflects how the technology is becoming an increasingly powerful law enforcement tool, but is also stirring fears about the potential for authorities to intrude on the lives of Americans. It was reported by the Government Accountability Office at a congressional hearing in which both Democrats and Republicans raised questions about the use of the technology. The FBI maintains a database known as the Interstate Photo System of mugshots…

Orwellian Future: Facial Recognition & Mass Surveillance Is Coming To U.S. Schools

We are staring our Orwellian future right in the face.  Beginning in New York, facial recognition is coming to schools in the United States and it’ll be switched on for testing next week. The dystopian future George Orwell warned about in his accidental historical predictions book, 1984, has arrived. According to an article by Engadget, the Lockport City School District in New York will start testing a facial and object recognition system called “Aegis” on June 3rd. According to BuzzFeed News, that will make it the first in the U.S. to pilot a facial recognition mass surveillance system on its students and faculty.…

Schools Are Deploying Massive Digital Surveillance Systems. The Results Are Alarming

Last December, early on a Sunday morning, Amanda Lafrenais tweeted about her cats. “I would die for you,” the 31-year old comic book artist from Clute, Texas wrote. To human eyes, the post seems innocuous. But in an age of heightened fear about mass school shootings, it tripped invisible alarms. The local Brazosport Independent School District had recently hired a company called Social Sentinel to monitor public posts from all users, including adults, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. The company’s algorithms flagged Lafrenais’s tweet as a potential threat. Automated alerts were sent to the district’s superintendent, chief…

Just a reminder: If you are heading to the ball park this summer for a major league baseball game, they are taking super high-res photos of you and your kids with permanently installed gigapixel cameras using facial recognition and tagging.

“The thought of using facial recognition might not sit well with everyone, but Fancam insists privacy is a priority.” LOL For those not familiar with these cameras, they take super high-resolution pictures of entire crowds of fans where you can zoom in to a persons face and it’s still crisp. If you’ve ever seen one of these photos online with the interface to zoom in and out, you know how crazy it is. “This year the team is among 10 professional stadiums that are installing the cameras permanently.” “The high-resolution photos give fans the chance to zoom in, find themselves…

Electronic STALKERS: Amazon and Google are using smart home data to track and record your habits

If you’re one of the millions of mindless American tech dopes out there who just loves owning an Amazon Echo or Google Home device for “convenience,” you should probably know that this always-listening spy module that you forked out a couple hundred bucks for is tracking everything that you and your family do at all times, and sending this information back to the mothership. New reports indicate that artificial intelligence (AI) “voice assistants” like Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft), Siri (Apple), and Home (Google) are now being used by Big Tech to pull massive amounts of data about how people live,…

Law Enforcement’s National Threat Assessment Program Predicts If You Pose A Future Threat

It has been nearly two years, since I reported on the dangers of creating a law enforcement run Mental Health Assessment (MHA) program. In Texas, police use MHA’s to “screen” every person they have arrested for mental illness. But the TAPS Act, first introduced in January, would take law enforcement screenings to a whole new level. It would create a national threat assessment of children and adults. In the course of six months the Threat Assessment, Prevention and Safety (TAPS) Act (H.R. 838) has seen support of the bill grow to nearly 80 Congress members. National Threat Assessment Program announced during National Police Week Politicians…

Police To Use TSA-Style Scanners To Spy On People In Public Places

TSA-style body scanners are coming to public spaces, and that should scare the hell out of everyone. If you thought the NYPD’s Z-Backscatter vans and police mini-Z’s were intrusive, you have not seen anything yet. Soon, nowhere will be safe from Big Brother’s prying eyes, as police prepare to use HEXWAVE to spy on people in public spaces. Last week the Salt Lake Tribunerevealed that the Utah Attorney General and law enforcement are partnering with Liberty Defense, a 3D image scanning company that makes its money from scanning the public in real-time. (3D means capturing rich information (size, shape, depth) about the detection space.…

This Creepy AI Predicts What You Look Like Based on Your Voice

A new artificial intelligence created by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pulls off a staggering feat: by analyzing only a short audio clip of a person’s voice, it reconstructs what they might look like in real life. The AI’s results aren’t perfect, but they’re pretty good – a remarkable and somewhat terrifying example of how a sophisticated AI can make incredible inferences from tiny snippets of data. In a paper published this week to the preprint server arXiv, the team describes how it used trained a generative adversarial network to analyze short voice clips and “match several biometric…

US now seeking social media details from all visa applicants

The State Department is now requiring nearly all applicants for U.S. visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers. It’s a vast expansion of the Trump administration’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors. In a move that’s just taken effect after approval of the revised application forms, the department says it has updated its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa forms to request the additional information, including “social media identifiers,” from almost all U.S. applicants. The change, which was proposed in March 2018, is expected to affect about 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to…

Amazon’s Plan to Move In to Your Next Apartment Before You Do

When tenants first walk into their new apartment at the Brandon Place complex in Oklahoma City, they aren’t likely to notice anything out of the ordinary for 2019—there are smart locks on the door with keycode entry, and contemporary thermostats with LCD touch screens. During their move-in briefing, they’re told the unit’s smart systems can be operated from Amazon.com Inc.’s AMZN -2.27% Alexa-powered devices. But they aren’t told how hard Amazon worked to get those devices into their new home. While Amazon’s smart-speaker competitors, Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc., are striving to grow their user base by luring individual…

DIY Facial Recognition For Porn Is a Dystopian Disaster

Someone posting on Chinese social network Weibo claims to have used facial recognition to cross-reference women’s photos on social media with faces pulled from videos on adult platforms like Pornhub. In a Monday post on Weibo, the user, who says he’s based in Germany, claimed to have “successfully identified more than 100,000 young ladies” in the adult industry “on a global scale.” According to Weibo posts, the user and some of his programming friends used facial recognition to detect faces in porn content using photos from social platforms. His reasoning for making this program, he wrote, is “to have the…

Apple’s privacy schtick is just an act…iTunes ‘purchase histories sold’ to data slurpers

Apple has been hit with a class-action complaint in the US accusing the iGiant of playing fast and loose with the privacy of its customers. The lawsuit [PDF], filed this month in a northern California federal district court, claims the Cupertino music giant gathers data from iTunes – including people’s music purchase history and personal information – and then sells that info to “data aggregators, data appenders, data cooperatives, list brokers, and other third parties.” “To supplement its revenues and enhance the formidability of its brand in the eyes of mobile application developers, Apple sells, rents, transmits, and/or otherwise discloses,…

Police To Use TSA-Style Scanners To Spy On People In Public Places

TSA-style body scanners are coming to public spaces, and that should scare the hell out of everyone. If you thought the NYPD’s Z-Backscatter vans and police mini-Z’s were intrusive, you have not seen anything yet. Soon, nowhere will be safe from Big Brother’s prying eyes, as police prepare to use HEXWAVE to spy on people in public spaces. Last week the Salt Lake Tribune revealed that the Utah Attorney General and law enforcement are partnering with Liberty Defense, a 3D image scanning company that makes its money from scanning the public in real-time. (3D means capturing rich information (size, shape, depth) about the detection…

If Facebook’s Privacy Practices Anger You, AT&T Shouldn’t Get A Free Pass

Recent privacy conversations have tended to fixate almost exclusively on Facebook and its seemingly-bottomless pit of privacy scandals. But we’ve noted more than a few times how telecom has somehow been excluded from these conversations, despite behavior that’s historically been as bad…or worse. From hoovering up and selling your location data to every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the internet, to trying to charge consumers even more money just to protect their own private data, telecom has a long, thirty-year history just packed with playing fast and loose with your private browsing, location, and other data. And yet while the…

More than 1,700 people walking on a University of Colorado campus were unknowingly photographed as part of a facial recognition research project funded by U.S. intelligence and military agencies

More than 1,700 people walking on a University of Colorado campus were unknowingly photographed as part of a facial recognition research project funded by U.S. intelligence and military agencies, a newspaper reported. Professor Terrance Boult set up a long-range surveillance camera in an office window at the Colorado Springs campus. It captured more than 16,000 images of passers-by during the spring semesters of 2012 and 2013, The Denver Post reported Monday. The research project, which was first reported by the Colorado Springs Independent , received funding from U.S. intelligence and military agencies, including the Office of Naval Research and the…

If Regulators Won’t Stop The Sale of Cell Phone Users’ Location Data, Consumers Must

A Motherboard investigation revealed in January how any cellphone users’ real-time location could be obtained for $300. The pervasiveness of the practice, coupled with the extreme invasion of people’s privacy, is alarming. The reporting showed there is a vibrant market for location data generated by everyone’s cell phones—information that can be incredibly detailed and provide a window into people’s most sensitive and private activities. The investigation also laid bare that cell phone carriers AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, and the many third parties with access to the companies’ location data, have little interest or incentive to stop. This market of your…

Apple Is Selling Your iTunes Listening Data Despite Its Privacy Claims…

Apple Inc. was sued by customers who claim the company is unlawfully disclosing and selling information about people’s iTunes purchases as well as their personal data, contrary to the company’s promise in advertising that “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” Three iTunes customers from Rhode Island and Michigan sued Friday in federal court in San Francisco seeking to represent hundreds of thousands of residents of their home states who allegedly had their personal listening information disclosed without their consent. The disclosure of iTunes customers’ personal data isn’t only unlawful but can also be dangerous because it allows…

Your Bank May Try to Punish You Because You Are a Conservative

Banks are canceling accounts and preventing conservatives from being allowed to conduct business merely because they are conservatives. This is the latest tactic that liberals are pursuing to destroy conservatives in America. Not satisfied with trying to defeat Republicans and conservatives in the political arena, liberals are working to destroy the very livelihoods of anyone who dares to be a conservative. That’s right. If you dare say you are a conservative, liberals are working to make sure you can’t get a job, can’t get a bank account, you won’t be allowed to make money, and can’t own a business. According…

I do not think most people understand how close the “Mark of the Beast” system is….

I do not think most people understand how close the ” Mark of the Beast” system is. Right now all of your records, your bank account, ownership of property, marriage records, children, your social security, medical records, education records, drivers license, your social media and 100’s of other pieces of data on you are all electronic. They could be made to disappear in a heartbeat, you would not exist in the modern world. You could not buy or sell, you could not travel, go to school, have access to medicine, all of it is in ether world of 1’s and…

The Government Is Serious About Creating Mind-Controlled Weapons

DARPA, the Department of Defense’s research arm, is paying scientists to invent ways to instantly read soldiers’ minds using tools like genetic engineering of the human brain, nanotechnology and infrared beams. The end goal? Thought-controlled weapons, like swarms of drones that someone sends to the skies with a single thought or the ability to beam images from one brain to another. This week, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) announced that six teams will receive funding under the Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program. Participants are tasked with developing technology that will provide a two-way channel for rapid and seamless communication…

Social Media Big Data: U.S. Military to Scan 350 Billion Messages

The U.S. military plans to analyze 350 billion social-media posts from around the world to help it track how popular movements evolve. A tender for the project, based at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, calls for screening messages from at least 200 million users from more than 100 countries in more than 60 languages to better understand “collective expression.” Messages, including user names, will be examined for comments, metadata, location and hometown identifiers. While it’s part of an existing Department of Defense Analysis effort to harness big data for social research, “the scale and global reach of this…

Home health spies: AI systems like Amazon’s Alexa to become “virtual medical coaches” that spy on patients in their homes

The future is looking a whole lot less human and a whole lot more robotic, thanks to Big Tech’s proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) spy devices like Amazon’s Alexa that are reportedly well on their way to replacing the entire medical profession. Within the next 20 years, reports indicate, these in-home AI surveillance gadgets, which also include Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, are expected to successfully “learn” how to become “virtual medical coaches” – meaning patients will no longer have to visit flesh-and-blood doctors to manage chronic conditions like diabetes, depression, asthma, and high blood pressure. According to a 100-page…

Meanwhile In China: If You Don’t Recycle, Big Brother Will Get You

Starting in September, residents of Xi’an, located in China’s northwest Shaanxi Province, will receive negative social credit points if they refuse to observe local garbage sorting regulations, according to the CCP-friendly Global Times.  The Xi’an government requires its residents to sort their waste into at least four categories – recyclable, hazardous waste, kitchen and other waste. Those who refuse to fulfill the obligation will be recorded under the personal credit system or will be fined up to 200 yuan ($28). –Global Times “Residents are forbidden from mixing industrial solid waste, construction waste, medical waste and animal carcasses in household garbage. Each residential area…

Amazon preparing a wearable that ‘reads human emotions,’ says report

In a week of eyebrow-raising headlines surrounding the US-China trade spat, this latest report from Bloomberg still manages to stand out: Amazon is said to be working on a wrist-worn, voice-activated device that’s supposed to be able to read human emotions. This would be a rather novel health gadget, of the sort we’re more used to seeing in tenuous crowdfunding campaigns instead of from one of the world’s biggest tech companies. Bloomberg has spoken to a source and reviewed internal Amazon documents, which reportedly show the Alexa voice software team and Amazon’s Lab126 hardware division are collaborating on the wearable…

DARPA Wants to Create Mind-Controlled Weapons of War

Last year, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that it was seeking noninvasive ways “to achieve high levels of brain-system communications without surgery.” The techniques would “allow precise, high-quality connections to specific neurons or groups of neurons.” The agency wants to create mind-controlled weapons of war, as it (vaguely) explained in two recent press releases. To achieve this goal, DARPA recently formed a program called Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3). DARPA wants soldiers to be able to control machines with their minds. According to a press release published on May 20, 2019, the agency has awarded funding to six…

AI Surveillance Of Shoppers: Walmart’s Newest Tool To Grab Your Data

Walmart is beginning to use AI surveillance of shoppers on Long Island in a move that is bound to generate some major privacy concerns. In particular, Walmart uses its artificial intelligence (AI) to get vast amounts of data about customer behavior. To elaborate, AI observes shoppers through cameras at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, New York, Tech Crunch reports. So, AI watches shoppers as they buy food for their families. Tech Crunch claims Walmart only uses the data that AI gathers to determine inventory levels. However, Walmart admits to collecting 1.6 terabytes (one million bites) of customer-behavior data per…

Americans believe that they should own the mountains of data produced by their cars, but they don’t

Your car is basically a smartphone with wheels, and it gathers up to 25gb/hour worth of data on you and your driving habits — everything from where you’re going to how much you weigh. Cars gather your financial data, data on the number of kids in the back seat, and, once they’re connected to your phone, data on who you call and text. To the extent that Americans know this is going on, they believe that the data their cars generate rightly belongs to them, and if someone else is accessing it, that it should be with their explicit consent…

Amazon is 3D-scanning people’s bodies in exchange for gift cards

Amazon has been conducting research that involves digital 3D “scans” of people’s bodies in exchange for a $25 Amazon gift card. The e-commerce giant is currently carrying out the image study at two different locations in New York City.  Mashable became aware of the research program after a staff member was targeted with an advertisement on Instagram. The ad led to an online form where would-be participants were able to sign up for a 3D body scan session. The signup page for the study claims that Amazon  takes 3D scans, photos, and videos of study participants, both fully clothed and…

The future of AT&T is an ad-tracking nightmare hellworld

There’s a long, excellent profile of the new AT&T and its CEO Randall Stephenson in Fortune today, which you should read. AT&T has transformed itself into a media colossus by buying Time Warner, and understanding how the company plans to use its incredible array of content from HBO, CNN, TNT, and others in combination with its huge distribution networks across mobile broadband, DirecTV, and U-verse is important for anyone who cares about tech, media, or both. Seriously, go read it. Here’s the part I want you to pay attention to: two quick paragraphs describing how AT&T sees the future of…

Big Brother Watch? US Navy Seeks to Create Archive of 350 Bln Social Media Posts

This is not the first time that the US government has expressed interest in gathering social media data: last April, the Departments of Homeland Security unveiled its plans to create a database to track more than 290,000 global news sources in over 100 languages. As part of “research efforts” conducted through the Pentagon and analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, the US Department of the Navy has shared a solicitation to contractors, revealing a project to create an archive of 350 billion social media posts related to the “minimum time period” from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2016. “Our research aims to provide enhanced understanding of fundamental social…

Facebook wants to combat fake news with ID checks – with ‘grave implications’ for our privacy

The last time I recall someone demanding: “Show me your ID” was on the streets of Beirut during the final days of the civil war. Now, I get the same thing when I log into Facebook. Facebook started rolling out a new tool in April 2019. Under updated procedures, the social media website would request ID verification for people who wish to advertise or promote political posts or ads. The announcement received very little publicity, but it can be interpreted as Facebook’s latest attempt to curb Russia’s anticipated interference in EU elections and prepare to manage any meddling in the…

Smart City Designed App Will Let Everyone Know If You Are Speeding

A misleading article in WSAZ3 News titled, “New app targets distracted drivers with traffic alerts” would lead you to believe that the makers of the app are actually concerned with everyone’s safety, but of course that is not the case. Have you ever wanted an app that lets Big Brother know when you are speeding and where you are going in real-time? If you have, then your wait is over. A new app called TravelSafely, sends warning signs to your smartphone for everything from your speed in a school zone to a light that’s about to change. “While we often look to…

McDonald’s new drive-thru menus will change based on the weather, traffic, time of day and your personal information

Big — possibly weird — changes are coming to your local McDonald’s drive-thru. On Monday, McDonald’s made its first big move into tech and its largest acquisition since it bought Boston Market in 2000. The company spent $300 million to acquire Dynamic Yield, a New York-based startup that uses artificial intelligence to “personalize customer experiences” — compiling data about how individuals make their sandwich and soda purchase choices and using that data to predict how other individuals will make them. Then, digital menu displays will make super-specific adjustments, store-by-store. So hypothetically, if the McDonald’s next to a high school gets…

Modern cars collect as much as 25 gigabytes of data per hour and it’s much more than performance and maintenance

Cars produced today are essentially smartphones with wheels. For drivers, this has meant many new features: automatic braking, turn-by-turn directions, infotainment. But for all the things we’re getting out of our connected vehicles, carmakers are getting much, much more: They’re constantly collecting data from our vehicles. Today’s cars are equipped with telematics, in the form of an always-on wireless transmitter that constantly sends vehicle performance and maintenance data to the manufacturer. Modern cars collect as much as 25 gigabytes of data per hour, the consulting firm McKinsey estimates, and it’s about much more than performance and maintenance. Cars not only…

Thanks to Facebook, Your Cellphone Company Is Watching You More Closely Than Ever

Among the mega-corporations that surveil you, your cellphone carrier has always been one of the keenest monitors, in constant contact with the one small device you keep on you at almost every moment. A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept shows that the social network courts carriers, along with phone makers — some 100 different companies in 50 countries — by offering the use of even more surveillance data, pulled straight from your smartphone by Facebook itself. Offered to select Facebook partners, the data includes not just technical information about Facebook members’ devices and use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks,…

Senator proposes strict Do Not Track rules in new bill…‘People are fed up with Big Tech’s privacy abuses’

Online advertising has become more invasive than ever, and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced today that he plans to introduce a bill that would create a Do Not Call list but for data tracking. Hawley’s Do Not Track Act would, if approved, allow people using an online service to opt out of any data tracking that isn’t necessary for that particular service to properly work. It would create a national list that would provide people with an option to block any secondary data tracking and penalize companies that continued to collect unnecessary data. “Big tech companies collect incredible amounts of…

Google uses Gmail to track a history of things you buy — and it’s hard to delete

Google tracks a lot of what you buy, even if you purchased it elsewhere, like in a store or from Amazon. Last week, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a New York Times op-ed that said “privacy cannot be a luxury good.” But behind the scenes, Google is still collecting a lot of personal information from the services you use, such as Gmail, and some of it can’t be easily deleted. A page called “Purchases ” shows an accurate list of many — though not all — of the things I’ve bought dating back to at least 2012. I made these purchases…

“Treason!” – Barr Finds “Government Power Was Used To Spy On American Citizens

In his first pair of interviews since being sworn in, Attorney General Barr told Fox News and WSJ that he was pursuing the investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe – an investigation he has tasked  John Durham, the US Attorney from Connecticut, with leading – because Americans need to know whether the government “put a thumb on the scale” to try and undermine President Trump both during the campaign and during the first two years of his term, just like “we need to ensure that foreign actors don’t influence the outcome of our elections.” Separately, he told WSJ…

Amazon now requiring marketplace sellers to submit video for a facial recognition database

If you wish to sell goods or services within the digital universe of Amazon, which is rapidly gobbling up the entirety of the retail-sphere, then you’re soon going to have to submit to Amazon’s Mark of the Beast, according to new reports. In the very near future, prospective Amazon Marketplace sellers will be required to submit to the Orwellian demands of Jeff Bezos, who reportedly wants to record every seller’s face using his “Rekognition” facial recognition technology in order to “verify” them. Getting approval to sell things on Amazon, in other words, will soon be contingent upon allowing Beelzebezos to…

Scientists create mind-controlled hearing aid

A mind-controlled hearing aid that allows the wearer to focus on particular voices has been created by scientists, who say it could transform the ability of those with hearing impairments to cope with noisy environments. The device mimics the brain’s natural ability to single out and amplify one voice against background conversation. Until now, even the most advanced hearing aids work by boosting all voices at once, which can be experienced as a cacophony of sound for the wearer, especially in crowded environments. Nima Mesgarani, who led the latest advance at Columbia University in New York, said: “The brain area…

Man fined for hiding face from police facial recognition camera

A man was fined £90 for refusing to show his face to police trialling new facial recognition software. The man pulled his jumper up above his chin as he walked past Met Police officers trialling Live Facial Recognition software in east London. BBC cameras filmed as officers swooped on the man, told him to ‘wind his neck in’ then handed him the hefty penalty charge. A campaigner from Big Brother Watch – who were protesting the use of cameras on the day – was also filmed telling an officer: ‘I would have done the same.’ Police said they made three…

Drivers Beware: The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in the American Police State

If you’re nervous about traffic stops, you have every reason to be. Trying to predict the outcome of any encounter with the police is a bit like playing Russian roulette: most of the time you will emerge relatively unscathed, although decidedly poorer and less secure about your rights, but there’s always the chance that an encounter will turn deadly. According to the Justice Department, the most common reason for a citizen to come into contact with the police is being a driver in a traffic stop. On average, one in 10 Americans gets pulled over by police. Indeed, police officers have been given free…

Police Use Lexis Nexis Facial Recognition To Identify Your Family And Friends

What is it going to take for Americans to realize that law enforcement has become an extension of Big Brother? All across the country, police officers are secretly using facial recognition to identify neighbors and people of interest. Police already have a history of abusing criminal record searches like CORI. Ex-State Trooper Michael Szymanski said, “I can’t tell you how many times I saw troopers run their next-door neighbor through CORI, run their old girlfriends’ names, or run someone who they’re having a dispute with,” he said. “I’ve seen a million different guys using CORI inappropriately.” Keep in mind that police…

WhatsApp: Malicious Spyware Has All The Markings Of “Government Sponsored Surveillance”

WhatsApp has asked users to update their systems after a malicious attack.  The cyber attack is complete with all the hallmarks of a “government-sponsored surveillance” attempt. The messaging and audio app owned by Facebook said Monday that malicious hackers were able to install spyware on Android smartphones and Apple iPhones and is asking users to make sure their security is up to date.  But more alarming, is that this looks like the government wants to spy on its own people who use the WhatsApp app. “The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments…

Big Brother backlash? San Francisco becomes first US city to ban facial recognition

The city of San Francisco has voted to ban the use of facial recognition tech by local law enforcement and other agencies, becoming the first to take such a step toward rolling back the tide of intrusive tech-enabled policing. “The propensity for facial recognition technology to endanger civil rights and civil liberties substantially outweighs its purported benefits, and the technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring,” the Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance reads. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8 to 1 to pass the legislation. The new law makes it…

Yes, Americans can opt-out of airport facial recognition — here’s how

Whether you like it or not, facial recognition tech to check in for your flight will soon be coming to an airport near you. More than a dozen U.S. airports are already rolling out the technology, with many more to go before the U.S. government hits its target of enrolling the largest 20 airports in the country before 2021. Facial recognition is highly controversial and has many divided. On the one hand, it reduces paper tickets and is meant to be easier for travelers to check in at the airport before their flight. But facial recognition also has technical problems.…

WARNING: Facial recognition is being used EVERYWHERE

In August 2017, a woman contacted the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado with what seemed like a simple case: After a date at a bowling alley, she’d discovered $400 missing from her purse and asked the manager to review the surveillance footage, which showed her companion snatching the cash while she bowled a frame. But despite the clear evidence, the search for the bowling companion floundered. The woman knew only his first name. He’d removed his profile from the dating site on which they’d met. His number, now disconnected, was linked to a hard-to-trace “burner” phone. Security video captured…

Here Come AI-Enabled Cameras Meant to Sense Crime Before it Occurs

In 1787, English philosopher Jeremy Bentham came up with an idea for a prison that would cost a fraction of the cost of other contemporary jails to run with virtually no internal crime. His theoretical prison, the panopticon, was curved, the cells facing inward toward a center point where a guard tower would stand. The windows in the guard tower were to be darkened on one side. This way, a single guard would be able to observe the behavior of all the prisoners. But more importantly, the prisoners would never know whether the guard had his or her gaze trained…

Coming to America: Inside China’s Massive Surveillance Operation

The woman remembers the first time she got a smartphone. It was 2011, and she was living in Hotan, an oasis town in Xinjiang, in northwest China. The 30-year-old, Nurjamal Atawula, loved to take pictures of her children and exchange strings of emoji with her husband while he was out. In 2013, Atawula downloaded WeChat, the Chinese social messaging app. Not long after, rumors circulated among her friends: The government could track your location through your phone. At first, she didn’t believe them. In early 2016, police started making routine checks on Atawula’s home. Her husband was regularly called to…

New Version of Microsoft Word will use Artificial Intelligence to Make Sure Your Content is Politically Correct

Microsoft will soon preview a version of Word that will use artificial intelligence to make your writing not just grammatically but politically correct. Microsoft doesn’t call it a “political correctness check,” but that’s essentially what it is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Actually Microsoft calls it “Ideas in Word,” which refers to a series of AI-driven features that help you format your document and write better. For instance, Word will decode acronyms for you, and tell you how long it’ll take to read a given document. It’ll also underline words or phrases that sound insensitive, and suggest corrections.…